Sunday, December 28, 2008

The ABC's of 2008

Here are some highlights from 2008, presented in a form both whimsical and tedious. If you want to do your own, please post a link in the comments!

A is for Apartment, which I moved out of in August. Still rockin' my parents basement in Hugo, although I will shortly start a new house sitting gig in Highland Park.

B is for blogging, I got let go from my blogging 'job' but that meant I posted a lot more here on . That is until I discovered Facebook.

C is for Children's Theatre, where I worked for about a month. It was awesome, but not a good fit. On my way out on my last day, class act that i am, i tripped over the steamer and caused a dog to shoot under the table, cowering, and a giant puddle of water to form on the floor which I then had to mop up. Nothing like making a grand exit!

D is for Duckie Uglings, my awesome stuffed animal company! I finally paid all my monthly bills in December based solely on monies made from the various stores and the sales that I had in December and November!

E is for Elephants. I made several this year, each, in my opinion, cuter than the last.

F is for Facebook, which does the stalking for you! Sorry Myspace, Facebook has won out in my book.

G is for the GUTHRIE theater, where I was lucky enough to sew the backdrops for Little House on the Prairie, and meet Melissa Gilbert during my lunch break! SURREAL!

H is for Hat Pattern, the Good Hat Day Hat pattern was accepted into the book One Yard Wonders, and I will actually be getting published in the next year!

I is for Internet, to which I am still addicted in a MAJOR way.

J is for junk artist, which I think I am now.

K is for Kitchen. Now that I am home and cooking for more than one person, I am LOVING the kitchen again. I hardly cooked in my last apartment, unless it was spaghetti or nachos. Now I'm even BAKING again! Love it.

L is for leisure. I know that this time of having LOTS of time on my hand can't last forever and that I will have to go back to having a full time job. But I do love spending lots of time with friends and family and working on my art. Why can't I get paid for that?

M is for Mosaic Mural, which I finished in February at the Dunn Brothers in Minneapolis.

N is for Nephew, Michael Thomas arrived June 13th and joined Matthew James down with his mom and dad in Missouri. I have gotten to tag along on several visit and they've come up here twice. As my grandma says, "He's a chunk!"

O is for OMG which has unfortunately worked its way into my typing and speech. I am going to try to rid myself of such LOL's and what have you in the next year. ;)

P is for personal space. Something that I miss living with my parents again. But it's a worthy payoff! If you could see my room, you'd see ducks and dogs and moose everywhere. They like to keep it in the same condition as if I wasn't here. I don't know how I feel about that. :/

Q is for air "Quotes". Another habit I will try to drop. Although I am still trying to push the use of the 'Air Parenthesis' which is the same idea, except your hands just go up in a cup shaped form.

R is for relaxing. Hugo is a very relaxing place to live, you can't help but take a nap in the afternoon!

S is for slippers. I have become very fond of socks and slippers and have been obsessed with making myself the perfect pair so I am never short. A pattern MAY develop from this, we'll see.

T is for Therapy, as in Art Therapy. I am trying to decide if I want to pursue a career in either Art Therapy or ESL. I am going to job shadow both those professions to see which might be a good fit.

U is for unemployment, I have spent the bulk of the year technically unemployed but not actually unemployed by the government's standards. eesh.

V is for Vacation: this year held some AWESOME ones. Florida with the whole family in February, Missouri for Matthew's 2nd birthday party, Chicago trips aplenty, les Cheneaux islands for Betsy and David's wedding, and more trips to Missouri! I don't know if they're technically vacations if you don't have a job you're taking time off from, but it's still a getaway, right?

W is for Wedding Flowers, I did 3 wonderful weddings for friends and family this summer, and a few parties here and there. I love arranging flowers, if I could, I would do it as a job. I obsessively check craigslist for floral jobs!

X is for who eXpects me to come up with a word for x?

Y is for YMCA. Jason took me to some awesome concerts and shows this year, I'd have to say my favorites were Kathy Griffin (as a 'sorry you got fired' gift) and the Village People and RuPaul during Pride week.

Z is for Zebra, because frankly, it always is!

OK that's my ABC's of 2008. Link to yours, fellow bloggers!

back to normal, for now...

so the boys and chip and julie left this morning after such a wonderful visit. the toys are put back into storage, the fingerprints are cleaned off the windows, the high chair and monitors and all the trappings of little ones are safely stowed until their next visit, which can't come soon enough for me or my parents. all that's left is the sniffly cold the boys had and passed around to all of us, and some adorable photos from the last week.

we'd had the MN cousins out yesterday (my aunts brought some deadly delish cookies and homebaked breads!) and matthew was entranced by his cousins rosie, hugh, frances and evelyn, and even though 1/3rd of the snow melted since our big snowfall and the other 2/3rds of it turned to ice, a good time was had by those sledding and sliding around on the ice. this morning, before packing, chip and julie put skates on matthew for the first time, and he took to it immediately. that kid can do anything.

michael and i had some good bonding time while his big brother was out skating and sledding. that kid can fall asleep in about 4 minutes. after his bottle and cereal, i sat down with him in the darkened room and rocked for a little bit, he laid his head on my shoulder and sighed a BIG baby sigh, scratched at my hair and my collar for about 3 minutes, and then was out. soooo sweet.

after taking them to the st. paul airport, we stopped off at the mall to do shopping for my christmas present from my folks, some new duds. spent only a few bux but updated the winter wardrobe in a much needed way. i realized it was the first time i stepped into a mall in about 4 months and the 1 hour trip was totally enough for me. chip and julie ended up landing in missouri before we even got home!

when we got home, my dad and i watched the vikings and subsequent other football games, yelling at the poor coaching and refereeing decisions as they were made. i napped because i'd gone to an 11 o'clock showing of 'let the right one in,' a swedish vampire movie, where i ran into the guys from Love in October, the ones I did the music video for! they are moving to chicago on monday, so that was crazy.

so now we get another round of making meals as a family, telling stories that get better with age, and opening presents chosen to make the recepient laugh or cry. betsy and her husband david and their pooch berkley are on their way from chicago, their plan to be here in time to watch the bears game today did not pan out, so instead they will be here 12 hours after the originally planned. which is fine with us, because we needed that time to recoup after hurricane michael and hurricane matthew left town. but i wouldn't have missed their visit for anything. not all the krumkake in the world!

Friday, December 26, 2008

the ARK pt. 2

Although it was NOT the ark of the covenant, as timo had hoped, the ark WAS a huge hit with Matthew, and a wonderment of new things to shove in one's mouth for Michael.

More new photos of these two little guys can be found here.

Besides starting out with a wicked hangover from Brian and Marisa's going away party, I've had such a fun time with Chip, Julie, Matthew and Michael. My mom and dad and grandma and I always love their visits, and like my gram said, "I wish you were here more often!" The handmade gifts were a big hit with everyone, even the ones I didn't get finished hahahahaha.

Church, dinner, presents, sleeping, stockings, brunch, more sleeping, more eating. It's all a beautiful blur.

We are watching Michael while the rest of the MO folks get out of the house for a little bit. This AM I went to breakfast with Robin and her new beau Josh and another 'old' friend Suzanne. Such fun to catch up with them.

I am contemplating going to the movies tonight but it's hard to swing a $10 (two penguin's worth of profit) ticket now that the penguin market has all but dried up. Eh. we'll see.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The ARK!

i finished up my nephews' presents, an ark they can both play with. Matthew is 2 and a half, Michael is 6 months. i have been obsessed with what i call 'elemental animals', boiling down an animal to its most recongizeable elements, proportions, patterns, etc.

i made the ark first, the 'lid' is attached at the back, and the elephants and the giraffes fit inside. i had thought originally of making more animals, but they won't fit inside! these elephants are pretty chunky. tee hee!

so i am pretty pleased with my attempts at making these kind of animals, after a couple of sad little prototypes which I didn't photograph. sometimes I feel like Dr. Moreau, my studio is littered with things that look a *little* like what they're supposed to, but with a leg or arm or tail or fin out of place....i wish val kilmer would show up to be my assistant. anyway. here are the photos of the ark, giraffes, and elephants. enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dala Horse Ornament Tutorial

FAMILY MEMBERS:Do not read unless you want a preview of part of your Christmas package!

Since my family is Swedish, we usually like to celebrate the season with swedish-ness. The bright cheery colors of Karl Larsson and the traditional handcrafts of the Swedish people lend themselves very well to Christmas, and we like to make crafts and give gifts that feature the Dala Horse.
If you came to my house right now, you wouldn't be able to swing a Lutefisk without hitting a Dala Horse. They are awesome and if I ever get a tattoo, I would consider getting a Dala Horse.

Anyway-My mom asked for my help in creating an ornament for folks to go out with our holiday packages. She had the idea originally to do a 3-D standing horse, but multiple prototypes proved that it would be too hard to get enough done before Christmas. So I convinced her to let me do this 2-D version! Enjoy!

Whatcha need:
Dala horse images (search the interwebs if you don't have them all over your house)
Tracing paper
Scissors (paper and fabric)
Red Felt
Batting or stuffing (or you can just use another layer of felt)
Rick-Rac, Ribbon, and Lace (or another color of felt)
Whatcha want:
Sewing machine with fancy stitches

Step 1:
Trace a dala horse shape on your tracing paper (or print out one from the web), cut it out with the paper scissors. Layer the felt, batting, and felt, with a looped ribbon between two of the layers. Pin all the layers, and then cut out a large rectangle around the horse. It will make it much easier to do the embroidery steps later.

Step 2: Using the machine (or hand stitching) sew a straight stitch as close to the pattern as possible. If your machine has the setting to end with the needle in the fabric, this will help with turning the corners. Sew all the way around, then using the scissors cut about 1/8th an inch away from the stitching all the way around, being careful of the ribbon!

Step 3: My mom picked up some super sweet mini-rick-rack, so I decided to sew them together to make them more colorful. Use a zig-zag stitch, and offset the rick-rack so that the valleys of one fit into the peaks of the other. You could also sew mini-r-r on top of
regular r-r. Or not. It's up to you.

Step 4: Cut out a lace element (or felt) that looks sort of saddlish, and pin a r-r harness and tummy strap under the saddle, hand stitch it all down.
Step 5: Using a decorative stitch, make the harness on the horse, using white thread. You could also use r-r for this step and hand sew it on. I used a very simplified version of the harness, just three little lines.

Step 6: Hand sew on a little lace for the mane, and you're done!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

it's over!

the 2008 craft fair gauntlet has been run, with mixed results.

i have learned lots of lessons about what to do, and what not to do next year.

i may or may not have a trunk show next weekend, invite only, for all my friends who have requested special items for the holidays. i listed a few more things on etsy tonight, find them in my store if you're interested!

this beary godmother didn't sell. she's gonna stay in my permanent collection, i think!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catching Up....

Well Craftsmas was gangbusters. I was so grateful to all the folks who stopped in to buy things, and the ones who just swung by for a chat. I was completely exhausted Monday, but made up a bunch more cats and bears to take into I Like You for their final push before the store closes on Dec. 23rd. Angela, Sarah and I have learned a LOT about running a craft show. That's for sure!
This chicken will be going to a new home, she's waiting at I Like You for the customer who special ordered her. I love the look on her face, and the way her feet turned out! I will make a few of these for Sunday's sale in Mahtomedi, I think.

Today I mailed off my 10 ornaments for the Swap-bot holiday ornament swap. I've gotten 3 so far, I should get 10 if everything goes according to plan. Here is the quick tutorial on how to make these ornaments. Enjoy!

Step 1: Cut out two heart shapes, one slightly smaller than the other, from felted wool. I used an old scarf (the stripes) and sweater, and a pinking shears on the scarf piece. Cut out two wing shapes from another felted sweater, trying to match the pattern of the stitch if possible. You'll see several different wing shapes throughout the tute, as I made each pair slightly different to take advantage of the pattern.
Step 2: Layer the larger heart, the wings, and the smaller heart. Use contrasting embroidery thread or thin yarn to stitch the whole shebang together.

Step the third:Use a regular old hole punch to make a hole for a grommet, then set a grommet in the hole, 'nice' side up! Thread in some matching yarn and you're done!

Friday, December 05, 2008


i am so busy with making animals for craftsmas on sunday, i haven't had the time to blog! plus my computer has been freezing up on me when i have more than two windows open. so....that's annoying.

anyway i'm off to I Like You to work for the weekend, so the girls can work at No Coast today and tomorrow. i'm taking animals with me to work with, so i hope the store is busy, but that i still have some downtime to make bearz!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

love it

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why you shouldn't spit out your gum

Hilarious little video, the whole series is super fun! apparently, they're for french iphone users? you can find more info here, but be wary of auto-play sound!

Friday, November 21, 2008

is she drinking a starbucks?

folks who are squeamish, republican, or vegetarians, please don't watch this video.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More purple

well Rudi and Judi (below) are off to Alaska, I think I have a fan up there! the same buyer got three owls last week, so that's a good feeling! people are responding to what i am doing with this different style of animal, both at sales and online. i gotta step it up though if i want to keep myself in the lifestyle to which i've become accustomed.

the Vanderbei maps are out, and here is the election result one, coded with 100% dem in blue, 100% repub in red, and counties coded by the intensity of that vote. Wow. What a beautiful country we live in. Purple mountains majesty indeed!

also intersting is the loss/gain map, which can be found on the same link. we've got a lot of work to maintain positive progress for these folks to want to continue to come to the light side of the force. hahaha

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Morning on the Farm

Woke up around 6:30 to an amazing sky. I tried to capture it over the last hour or so, to give you an idea of what I wake up to on mornings when I just can't sleep in.

My birthday noise machine knocked me out and I had a fantastic night of sleep. The 3000 calories I consumed at Shamrock's probably didn't hurt either.

Had a great night laughing with old friends, doing crossword puzzles while watching Monday Nite Football. My friend's mom's wake is today, and we just wanted to take him out for some good times and let him talk, or not, and I'm so glad we did.

I remember after we lost my aunt, uncle, and cousin in a plane crash, we went out to a pizza place after the funeral as a family and told stories and laughed for the first time after it happened. It was shocking to me at the time (a junior high kid) that we could laugh at a time of such loss and sadness, but now I know it's part of the healing journey that some people take. A way to return to semi-normalcy.

My friend Jason's blog was developed as a way to deal with the loss of his own mom, and even to read those stories now breaks my heart. But he's found a way to remember the stories of his journey without having to rely on his memory, and it's an amazing testament to her influence on his life.

Heavy stuff for 7:30 in the AM.

I got my book submission done and sent off to be published (eep!), after getting my mom to sew it to test the pattern. I did one more variation on it which I call the Train Conductor hat, I'm gonna say I'll try to photograph it but if you read this blog, you know by now, I'm not that great at keeping photographing promises.

Last thing to report on, I've made myself a goal to wear earrings every day of year 33, because a. I have a ton of them, 2. I look good in earrings, and c. it'll give me a great reason to use up all the beads I still do have! It's gone well so far I haven't left the house without them yet.

Oh, and a little red squirrel has been popping up outside my window, in the rocks of the now-frozen pond and the veg outside my window. I hope he sticks around, he's a cheerful little jolt of fuzz as I sit at my computer!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Friday was my birthday. It was a day of extreme sadness as one of my dear friend's mothers passed away early in the morning, and I got the news around 12.

I spent the day with my family; mother, father, and grandmother. Cake at her apartment and Madagascar 2 with my folks. I ran a quick trip to Minneapolis, then to my friend's house to spend some time watching TV and just hanging out.

I begin my 33rd year, my "Jesus" year, with a profound sense of how lucky I am to have an amazingly supportive and close family.

Life is a fragile thing and I am aware we are all on the bubble, all the time.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


sigh. it was like 80 degrees on monday. now they are predicting snow for tonight into tomorrow.

so much for global warming. gonna walk with the folks then tuck in for another day of sewing, and watch the flakes fly.

oh...and here's the purple primary map from Vanderbei. Will post the election map once it's complete.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Gonna turn 33 in just a few days. My Jesus year is about to begin, which already includes being published in an upcoming book and trying to make a go of it as a full-time artiste. Eep!

Anyway, as for the birth-day itself, I have several plans including getting enough rest for ClapperClaw the next day! Good thing it doesn't start until late so I can sleep in! I dropped off the art for Sunday's opening at Art Start, and the good ladies went crazy over it. It's always fun to hear reactions to my work from fans!

I already got a pretty awesome early gift, a new president :) but what I'd really love from anyone reading the blog, is to donate time to your local favorite older person. Rake their leaves, bring them a home-baked treat, whatever. I will spend a big chunk of the day with my only remaining grandparent, as I try to do on a weekly basis, because she is not only a funny, amazing woman, but because I want to get as much time in with her as I can before she's gone.

The story about Frank Sinatra's daughter not going to the hospital to be with her dad so she could watch the ending of Seinfeld (which in my opinion wasn't that great anyway) has always stuck with me. It might be an urban legend, but every time I think to myself I'd rather do a instead of b, I wonder if I'd regret the decision to do 'a' if I knew that it'd be the last time I'd get the chance to do 'b'.

Anyway. Spend time with an older neighbor, relative, or friend this weekend and think of your good friend Becca, OK?!? Happy Birthday to me!


I am happily overwhelmed.

I did feel sad when McCain's supporters were booing his calls for them to unite behind Barack Obama. He did an amazing job campaigning, making Obama work very hard to prove himself worthy of the job, and his exit from the campaign was graceful and classy. I only wish his supporters hadn't sullied his speech by their rudeness and....gosh I don't even know what to call it.

We really do live in a purple country, not red, not blue, and to get through the next 4 years we need to work towards a common goal, bring America back to the standing we used to enjoy economically, spiritually, and politically in the world.

I hope the folks that voted for McCain will take his words to heart, and embrace their new president, and do as McCain asked, work along side him to strengthen our country and move us forward into the 21st century.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


am off to watch returns and the daily show special with colleen and dave and their kids. i bought a dozen cupcakes for us to share. i have a feeling i'm gonna have a tummy ache in the AM.

my sister is going down to grant park to be part of the (hopefully anyway) celebration in chicago when the results come in tonight! eeeeeep!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


some underbite molar monkeys (thanks tim for the name and jyk for the awesome cutting job!) , check them out at clapperclaw next saturday!

batman was too late to rescue quint from JAWS.

and the winners of the costume contest........made by yours truly and worn by jyk and witthaus. they rehearsed their shtick for HOURS. it was hilarious.

my costume was airship captain, which i made in about 3 hours. will take photos today. i wasn't 100% happy with it but it was fun to try. maybe next year it'll be better. anywhoo.

the drive home last night sucked. i hit a cat. there was a cop at the other part of the intersection who tried to put the poor guy out of his misery but he crawled away. i felt so awful. i still do. i can only hope he is at peace. ugh.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

no photos. yet.

had a wild weekend.

'miscast' sold out on friday nite! yay!

on saturday AM, a flock of migrating birds flew over while i was out in the garage getting flowers ready for andrea's wedding. the sky was full of little black birds for about 4 minutes. i had heard some strange, far off noise for about 10 minutes before they came. and when it got closer and closer, i went outside. thousands and thousands of birds flew over. it was kinda like this. i made my parents come out and see it because it was so striking.

andrea's wedding was sublime. photos will follow, i promise.

afterwards, i just came home and slept.

yesterday was a rainy windy day. went to the witthaus's open haus and then barnes and nobles.

i have been in a bit of a funk, reinforced by a job i wanted falling through. sigh. the job hunt continues.

cookin' up some nice mexican inspired chicken for lunch, then back out to the studio to work on animals for clapperclaw and the artscraps show.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


from yes we carve. hahaha! love it!


i heard an interview with neil gaiman yesterday on NPR, he talked about this new book and a little bit about coraline.
i can't wait for this movie! i'm gonna have to read the book......

Saturday, October 18, 2008

did i forget to tell you?

my hat pattern got accepted to the one-yard wonders book!


supa dupa exciting! more information, such as publishing date, as it becomes available, i promise!

my sister has this particular hat in her collection now, sara has one and my mom has another. i am sure i will make a few more during the beta-testing phase. look for more photos soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


the shows i had last weekend were BANANAS. i've watched a marathon of the rachel zoe project. and one of project runway. project duckie uglings is going well. i am trying to treat it like a job. a job where i get to watch reality TV as i work. regardless.

here's a sneak preview of what i have coming up for winter's ornaments. reindeer and polar bears! they are made from felt, sequins, jingle bells, and other holiday trimmings. i will add some to my etsy site, shortly. like, within a few days. i promise!

i have about a million shows coming up this winter, YAY, and i will be bringing new animals and ornaments to each store i'm currently in. drop me a line if you're interested in finding out more!

Monday, October 06, 2008

the best laid plans.....

well life doesn't always go your way, does it kids?

i got fired from the job. meh.

i dropped my cell phone in the toilet. $160 for a new phone. great.

i sent off a 5 lb box to california. whee! i hope a lot of it sells.

i'm trying to work in the basement on all my stuff, whilst the construction guys put in a new egress window. interesting! my mom is my sous-crafter. it's going pretty well.

photos soon, i promise. my camera is coming on wednesday, along with my brother and his family! yay! first visit to MN for baby michael!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

holding down the fort

while the i like you girls are in chicago for the renegade craft fair, i'm minding the store.

yesterday was an OK sales day, someone bought one of my birds so that was fun! most of the day i sit on the internet and think about how much stuff i need to make for my sales, coming up just one month from now!

i've been invited to participate in a group show out in san fran, so i'm SUPER excited about it. more details as i know about them, i promise! i went garage saling this AM and found a mini-cuckoo clock, which i think may become a necklace for a flavor-flav inspired wall mounted cuckoo bird! the guts of the clock are intact, but apparently not working, so i'll also have some gears and other interesting bits to play with.

i'm also going to make some shadow boxes, like these oldies-but-goodies, but glassless, so that people can interact with them as they wish. i made those in late 2006 for a holiday sale, and most of them sold before i took photos (dummy!) but they combined collage, railroad figures, and beads. i really dug them, and i haven't made many more since. but dude, i think it's time!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

day two....

day two of my new job @ the children's theatre and it's awesome. i didn't sleep a wink last night, unfortunately, as i was thinking about how excited i was to go back! yay!

i made a delish soup with some turkey sausages my dad cooked's the basics! gonna eat lunch with sara again tomorrow, we like gawking at the kewl kids at mcad.

turkey snausage soup

take two turkey bratwurst and cook them with 1 T of oil and 1/2 a small chopped onion, and crumble the cooked bratwurst, removing casing. do not drain off the fat. you're gonna want it!
add 3 large chopped cooked and peeled potatoes, and one large chopped tomato (or two small ones). throw in a few cups of water, and a small can of tomato paste. pepper and salt and some mrs. dash don't hurt either.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

cake-filled weekend

i left thursday evening for a wedding in devil's lake, north dakota. two of my favorite students got hitched, and i got to help them out by doing the flowers for the ceremony and reception. i had to thumb a ride with two of my other former students and go back with a different group, because the dude i was going to drive with backed out a few days before the wedding....i wouldn't have been able to drive anyway because my cold was just starting to turn nasty. but this post isn't about my cold, or how i am constantly amazed by the volume of dirty kleenex i can generate in one 6 hour period, or by how much sleep i need when i'm sick.

i can't tell you how happy i am for the bride and groom, and how honored i was to be able to help them celebrate their marriage!

everyone in her church pitched in, and they had friends and family do the music for the ceremony, a big group of school friends came to set up the tables for the reception and help me with the flowers, her mom grew almost all the flowers we used, and baked the bread and made the pickles for dinner. it truly was a celebration where everyone had a role. they will always be surrounded by the people who were there to witness their wedding. folks who want them to succeed. what an amazing way to start out a life.

after getting back late last night, i slept all day and then went to a surprise dinner/birthday roast for a friend i've known since we were both 5. another super fun gathering of friends, telling stories, laughing at old photos and videos. and he was totally surprised!

gonna do a shot of nyquil and drift off to dreamland now. tomorrow i have to clean my room (it only took 9 days for my parents to insist i should do it, i got a pass today because i was alseep) AND the studio, AND, pick out my outfit for the first day of work on tuesday! yay!